Big Stick

When I was a kid our neighbors at a vacation place had a standard poodle. Brandy was his name, and he was elegant, tall, trimly muscled. Confidently he loped around his land, friendly (but not cloying) and calm -- the opposite of those over-manicured, fey, miniature abominations. Or, for that matter, other big ones that had been made to look like this. His was manly fur: curly, black as clean coal, nature made.

On the other side of Brandy's place lived a yip-yip dog, one of those silly small kind that pretend to own the joint while knowing they don't. Every day he'd come down a hill to our neck of the woods (our two houses shared the same flatland) and buzz around Brandy non-stop, yipping and nipping; and Brandy, dignified and confident as he was, just ignored him. Day after day, yip after nip, Brandy moved through it like a ship at sea.

Until one day, and I witnessed it: finally tiring of the little son of a bitch, Brandy had had it up to here. Came a flurry of furry, a couple of throaty growls, a blur of fur, lasting all of about three seconds, at the end of which the yipper was on his back looking up at Brandy looking down as he calmly straddled the shivering little shit. After glaring down long enough to say, okay, squirt, that's enough, he casually walked away. Without any more aggression than that, not breaking skin or even coming close to it, teeth barely bared, Brandy had made it clear what he could do if he wanted to, and the little one ran off, never looking back. Never coming back.

I see a lesson there, for those who'd like you to believe that Barack Obama broadcasts weakness to the world. State to state there's a lot of bluster; but no one's made a move. Not like they did on 9/11 under Bush, or Lebanon under Reagan, or Kuwait under the other Bush. I can't make an analogy to those rioters in theocratic rage, because no policy of ours will ever suppress that kind of thing; their own country's maybe, but not ours. But Palinbaggers are dead wrong when they claim the US is weak because we haven't invaded anyone lately. There's more than one way to assert authority. And we already know how bluster and what passes for balls failed to prevent embassy attacks during our most recent period of darkness.

Pour a little Brandy into your tea, Sarahbaggers, calm down, and watch how adults, the real big dogs, deal with complicated issues.

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